I'm Not a Cheap Date

And Cisco knows it

November 1, 2006

2 Min Read
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8:00 AM -- How much is your time worth? $50 an hour? $150? More?

You don't have to be a senior partner at a boutique law firm or a well-heeled callgirl to pull down the equivalent of $800 an hour -- all you need is an opinion about Cisco's storage efforts.

I hate to be cagey about my source on this -- this woman asked me to mask her identity - but she was among the chosen to get the following email last week, not once but twice (first from Cisco's PR firm, then from the vendor directly):

  • Cisco is conducting research to assess the perceptions of IT media thought leaders. We are interested in understanding your perception on the technology and support leadership of the vendors addressing enterprise data center challenges.

    This research will be conducted by KRC Research, whose representatives should be contacting you in the next few days to schedule a 15 minute interview. The interview will be scheduled around your availability and they will be completely confidential and all your comments will be kept anonymous.Because we know your time is valuable, we would like to offer you an honorarium of $200 which can be sent to you directly or to the charity of your choice.

Sweet, huh? Make that check out to the Journalists Benevolent Association, or better yet, the Los Angeles County Treasurer, whose property tax bill comes due tomorrow.

Trade journalists and industry analysts get these kinds of pitches a lot, usually from a PR firm that's preparing to pitch a new client. Remuneration is sometimes part of the come-on. When I get such invitations, I don't play the game, and not because I'm some kinda holier-then-thou ethics cop. I'm just loathe to give any PR people the impression this approach really works on me or any of my colleagues. But that's a tired rant best left for another time.

The Cisco twist on this equally tired pitch is making the check payable to you, or the charity of your choice. Ethical dilemma on top of ethical dilemma! A smart innovation on Cisco's part -- an opinion I'll offer up for free.

The next one will cost you.— Terry Sweeney, Editor in Chief, Byte and Switch

  • Cisco Systems Inc.

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